Sonorous, the latest release from Poland natives The Howling Eye, is full of riff-heavy stoner jams, each one longer and more full of twists and turns than the last. And they couldn’t be easier to describe. They’re raw, they’re unapologetic, and they’re unabashedly rock and roll.
Despite the intimidating length of the songs (the last one clocks in at just under 17 minutes), they each manage to maintain their unique sense of identity; something incredibly rare in a genre which is all too often defined by its train-of-thought meandering.
“Kairos” is the song where the rhythm section gets to have the most fun. The re- and re- and re-imagining of the power chord heavy main riff is laid out in between flashy drum fills and groovy bass licks. “Stranded” is the heavy one, complete with 90s-style a-tonal vocal delivery. “Reflections” is the pensive one, and probably the one that will most appeal to fans of bands like Tool or Isis (though let’s be honest, those people will eat up this entire thing. Also, when I say Isis, you know I mean the band and not the people who want to blow stuff up, right?). “The Potion” is the funky one.
Finally, “Weedblazer,” as the name would imply, is the one that was clearly written during that sweet first 20-minutes of a new high (weed is legal now in Canada, so we can be more out in the open about this, right? Come on, it’s in the title of the freaking song) and it could have easily been divided into at least four individual radio-length songs. Well… jam on, dudes.
What’s most impressive considering the tight and cohesive nature of these tracks is that they were, at least in part, improvised. To be clear: it is never surprising when a stoner rock band releases a record full of improvised material. It is, however, extremely commendable when this type of record fits together so well and merits a first, second, third, and yes, even a fourth playthrough.
Written by Syd Ghan
*edited by Danielle Kenedy